Jocelyn's Other Desk

The writings of Jocelyn Smith, aspiring author, soon-to-be lawyer, once and future politician, all-around opinionated twentysomething.

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Location: Orlando, Florida, United States

I'm a lawyer in Florida, working on three novels, a screenplay, and half a dozen pieces of fanfiction at any given moment.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Witching Hour...

Yes, it's about Harry Potter.

As most who know me can well imagine, I wasn't about to wait until eight hours into July 16th to get my book, so I was one of those obnoxious geeks in line at Barnes & Noble at midnight. With my mother, no less.

We had a blast. Dunno what Midnight Magic Tod Goldberg went to (see his entry on the subject), but there was no erotic fanfiction being read at Colonial Plaza, Orlando. Maybe he should try a party on the East Coast, next time.

I first went to a Midnight Magic party back in 2003 for the Order of the Phoenix release on a whim. Yep, girl with nothing better to do in Washington, DC on a Friday night. Hey, I'd just moved there! Wandered into the Bethesda B&N (four stories of absolute paradise, I do love urban bookstores!) after an evening of window shopping, and stayed all evening, eating cheesecake in the cafe and watching kids play games and chatting with parents.

So this year, after Mum and I finished our fanfic magnum opus, Harry Potter and the Battle of Wills, I persuaded her that it would be an excellent "last hurrah" for us to meet up and hit the Book 6 party.

The newspaper reported the next day that there were 1600 people at our store--no wonder the air conditioning was overloaded! That was the only real downer; it was hot as hell in there.

We hung out in the Starbucks, drank IBC, worked on a mystery series that we've been toying with for years, bought some music, and watched people being silly. Silly is a highly underrated occupation. There were a few oddballs: I have no qualms about enjoying myself alone, did it before, but the person in full costume, by herself, about 15 years older than me who didn't appear to be having any fun seemed rather strange. And there were the two twelveish-year-olds dressed like streetwalkers and another skank bragging about dropping out of high school...yeah. But for the most part, the crowd was perfectly normal, just people hanging out and enjoying themselves and talking Potter.

So we got lined up, counted down, and there was much squealing. One singularly tacky female (mother/chaperone of one of the skanky teens, no less) actually held up our line for about ten minutes because there was another book she wanted to buy but didn't have and forced the poor cashier to go find it for her. (Insert epithet of choice here.) Mum and I along with several other prospective book-buyers imagined the various spells we might use upon her. Then we purchased our copies from a Slytherin bookseller (all the employees were in costume, about half were Slytherin. I wonder!)

We went home, Mum drove, and I ranted because it was too dark in the car to read. I'm hyper over a new book even on a normal occasion; I was quite obnoxious. Mum remarked on the lack of traffic in the downtown area, observing, "Time for witches and wizards to be out."

We got home and read for a couple of hours before going to bed. I finished my copy around noon the next day, with much whimpering, and predicted correctly a highly-agitated phone call from Mum when she finally finished hers.

Damn good book, though. As I like to remind readers who are inclined to praise my fanfic to the skies, "You can't beat the real thing." And Jo Rowling has Mum and me beat by miles with the "fist-to-the-gut" effect. Even the events that were somewhat expected (won't say which since I don't know how to hide spoilers on this blog), happened in a rather surprising--in some cases, shocking--way.

And then there's all the post-read hysteria among the fans on the Internet. Good old fandom_wank has been hopping with hilarious stories of people ranting because the book's plot wasn't what they expected or hoped for. It's highly amusing to read these people insisting that THEY understand the characters/plots better than the AUTHOR does! Stupid people are so entertaining.

Anyway, bottom line: yes, it's silly. Staying out till midnight for a book, going crazy over a book, writing stories based on the book... It's all silly. But it's fun.

(And of course, I'm already having muse attacks for post-HPB fanfiction.)


Anonymous Ninja rat! said...


Got here through technorati. I've been dipping a toe into Harry Potter fanfic through pottersues. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like yours may actually be, y'know, decent. I'm going to have to check it out now.


1:02 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Jocelyn's fics are better than most. I read some of a few of them.

Jocelyn, you must have read that account of the lunatic at

the one who was pretty much ready to kill a child because she, *gasp* opened the box and deprived her of the OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!! privilege.

On the other hand, from what the news says, events in my town were pretty much kids and parents. Now me? I went to bed early. I'll wait for the movie to come out.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn Smith said...


I did indeed. I also saw the stupid shipperindenial!OMGJKRbetrayedus! fanart, and the assorted cyber-tantrums.


I'm not saying the woman's writing is worthy of a Nobel Prize--well, maybe the impact on children's reading does, though--but she doesn't deserve that much bitching.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

That whole thread on FW has been a hoot!

JKR hasn't won any awards in this country that I know of. She has a good story, which is different from good writing. And she can plot. That's a big deal. I agree that it's good she gets kids reading. It's not good that in between times the kids freak out and don't know what to do with their time.

Plenty of terrific Newberry winners and commended, etc., out there to fill in the gaps between.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn Smith said...

That whole thread on FW has been a hoot!

There, you see? FW can be a real riot. It's mixed content, a mixed crowd, but depending on what your fandom is, there's usually something there to laugh at.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

If you've read the book...did you see the theories at my blog? I thought Cheryl b had an interesting idea.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

You know. They are funny. Because they're all taking all this so damned seriously. It's a book. Just a book. The amount of time necessary just to find the stuff is amazing.

I was thinking that as suicidal as all the various disappointed shippers are...they're still going to go out and buy Book 7.

Might be something to letting the fans act like nimnods.

3:37 PM  

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